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Judges 14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

Marriage of Samson. Samson went down to Timnah where he saw one of the Philistine women. On his return he told his father and mother, “I saw in Timnah a woman, a Philistine. Get her for me as a wife.” His father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among your kinsfolk or among all your people, that you must go and take a woman from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson answered his father, “Get her for me, for she is the one I want.” Now his father and mother did not know that this had been brought about by the Lord, who was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines;[a] for at that time they ruled over Israel.

So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. When he turned aside to the vineyards of Timnah, a young lion came roaring out toward him. But the spirit of the Lord rushed upon Samson, and he tore the lion apart barehanded, as one tears a young goat. Without telling his father or mother what he had done, he went down and spoke to the woman. He liked her. Later, when he came back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the remains of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass, and honey. So he scooped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he went along. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some to eat, but he did not tell them that he had scooped the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 His father also went down to the woman, and Samson gave a feast there, since it was customary for the young men to do this. 11 Out of their fear of him, they brought thirty men to be his companions. 12 Samson said to them, “Let me propose a riddle to you. If within the seven days of the feast you solve it for me, I will give you thirty linen tunics and thirty sets of garments. 13 But if you cannot answer it for me, you must give me thirty tunics and thirty sets of garments.” “Propose your riddle,” they responded, “and we will listen to it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came food,
    out of the strong came sweetness.”

For three days they were unable to answer the riddle, 15 and on the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Trick your husband into solving the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your family. Did you invite us here to reduce us to poverty?” 16 [b]So Samson’s wife wept at his side and said, “You just hate me! You do not love me! You proposed a riddle to my people, but did not tell me the answer.” He said to her, “If I did not tell even my father or my mother, must I tell you?” 17 But she wept beside him during the seven days the feast lasted, and on the seventh day, he told her the answer, because she pressed him, and she explained the riddle to her people.

18 On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey,
    what is stronger than a lion?”

He replied to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.”

19 The spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty of their men and stripped them; he gave their garments to those who had answered the riddle. Then he went off to his own family in anger, 20 and Samson’s wife was married to the companion who had been his best man.

Footnotes:

  1. 14:4 An opportunity against the Philistines: although the story of Samson’s first love might be taken as an illustration of the danger of foreign marriages, the narrator explains it differently. Samson’s infatuation with the Timnite woman was the Lord’s way of creating an opportunity to punish the Philistines for their oppression of Israel.
  2. 14:16 The story of Samson and the Timnite woman is very similar in its narrative structure to the better-known story of Samson and Delilah (16:1–22). In both, Samson’s success in his conflict with the Philistines depends on keeping a secret. In both stories Samson is betrayed by the Philistine woman he loves when she importunes him to reveal the secret to her and then, when he gives in, divulges it to her people.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Judges 14 New International Version (NIV)

Samson’s Marriage

14 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. 11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.

12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”

14 He replied,

“Out of the eater, something to eat;
    out of the strong, something sweet.”

For three days they could not give the answer.

15 On the fourth[a] day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”

16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”

“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” 17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?
    What is stronger than a lion?”

Samson said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 14:15 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew seventh
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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